While rapper/singer/speaker David Hodges may have worked with youth all over the province at everything from anti-bullying workshops to musical projects; there was absolutely nothing on earth that could have ever prepared him for the wealth of talent and what would come of it as he toured through the communities of Eeyou Istchee.
On a mission to showcase the hidden and not so hidden talent in the Cree communities, Hodges initial goal was to just get artists from each community to record different parts of one song to create a collaborative song project. Instead, not only did Hodges record N’we Jinan, a Cree version of the song he wrote, Notre Home, but he also wound up doing a series of radio quality collaborative songs with youth from each community that were enough to fill a whole album.
And, that album hit iTunes as of May 27 so that Crees and the world beyond can take a piece of the hip hop, rock, rap, gospel and grooves that some of Eeyou Istchee’s finest lent their hearts and souls to.
Rewinding a little, this project actually only began in early March when Hodges and his crew, who were invited to do the tour by the Cree Nation Youth Council, first visited Waswanipi.
While the initial project was supposed to be about the youth in the school, as the school was closed that day, Hodges and crew set up in the youth center and from there the magic began.
“As soon as we started meeting the people we realized that there was just so much talent in this community and so I wanted to be less demonstrative and more hands on in actually doing the work.
I wanted to just actually do stuff. Initially I was supposed to show people how stuff was done in the studio and my music videos but then when people started rolling in, I met so many rappers, singers and other musicians that there was just too much talent in the room to not say lets create some music.
And it was Waswanipi that set the tone for the entire tour and that is 100% the truth. I didn’t know what the tour was going to be like or what it was going to really be,” said Hodges.
The album shot up the iTunes charts after its release yesterday, and currently sits at No. 1 in the Hip-Hop/Rap category. Listen to some of the most popular songs from each community below, or download the entire album here.
You can also listen to more tracks from N’we Jinan on David Hodges’ Soundcloud page
To find out more about each of the songs on this album and the people behind them, pick up the next issue of the Nation, available June 13. We`ll be speaking with people in each community to find out more about the youth who were behind each stage of the project.